For fans of anything Dustin Kensrue has done, solo or Thrice, it is great to see him releasing new music in the form of the new album Carry The Fire (review here).” Not only that, but Thrice are playing shows this year, and if we are really lucky, getting back into the studio!
In this interview with Kensrue was kind enough to answer some questions pertaining to Thrice, Carry the Fire, and some other topics of interest.
It was actually really healthy and great to take a break for everyone I think, regardless of it being a huge life change and hardship in certain ways. When you’re at anything for 14 years straight (which is I think how long we’d been at it when we stopped) you can tend to lose perspective in a bunch of ways. I feel refreshed and am really excited to play music with those guys again. Right now we are just focusing on playing some shows but who knows what the future holds.
When you went to write Carry The Fire, were you blending/using songs that may have been originally written for Thrice, or is it all 100% solo material?
All of that is much blurrier with this record I feel like, especially with a song like “Carry the Fire” or even “Gallows” which feel like they could possibly work as Thrice tunes. The main difference in the end at this point is how collaborative the process with Thrice is. That being said, none of these were originally ideas I intended to use with Thrice, though some were for another project I had been thinking about.
Not sure that I could pin down lyrical inspirations. As far as music, I definitely wanted this record to feel a lot more diverse and dynamic than Please Come Home. One of the biggest challenges was making all of the diverse feels sound coherent on one record. It was definitely freaking me out for a bit but I think I succeeded in the end and pulled it all together.
How much does your faith influence your writing? Do you feel it necessary to incorporate it, or is it more natural for you?
No matter what our worldview, our beliefs are going to color everything that we do. And I think it’s best to let those beliefs naturally come out in your art. If you try to work them in unnaturally they will feel forced and often preachy or didactic, regardless of your intentions.
You are an avid reader, so when it comes to lyrics, are you simply writing from the heart, or do you cultivate what you gain in knowledge and put that into your songs? Or…is there a difference?
Ha. Yeah, not sure there’s a difference. Maybe in intention? When I’m writing a record I’m definitely more aware of how certain ideas could be interesting for a song, but as with beliefs I think often the things you learn are simply coming out in different ways when you write. I also believe that reading builds your pallete as a writer. You are slowly and subconsciously building up a spectrum of colors to use later.
Looking back on all your amazing material, Thrice and solo, off the top of your head is there anything you would go and re-record if you had the chance? I know most fans would keep it all the way it is, but I am just curious.
Its tempting to want to re-record things but generally being a revisionist doesn’t go well (e.g. all the dumb stuff Lucas inserted into the original Star Wars trilogy.) The one thing we do bring up from time to time that is somewhat plausible is the idea of remixing TAITA (The Artist in the Ambulance). We were bummed on how it turned out and know what really went into that record before it all got squashed.
Staying relevant in the music scene has never been a “problem” for you or Thrice, but I am wondering if you consider staying relevant a priority? Or, do you just do what feels right and hope people listen and care?
We’ve definitely never approached any writing that way or ever had that conversation. We are very internally driven and motivated, always our biggest challengers and critics. But I do believe always being a lover of the music, past AND present is helpful to maintaining creative as one writes.
Hmmm. I think we tend to reboot somewhat naturally with every record we make so it seems normal at this point. Those that have stuck with us through all the change seem to be in it for the long haul. I describe this in terms of trust. I believe over time you can build trust with the people that listen to your music and I feel fortunate that we’ve been able to do this.
If you can speak for the other members of Thrice, are those guys very hungry to get things rolling again? As a band, is there a restored youthful energy that comes with re-banding?
We’ve only all been together twice in quite awhile. Once for dinner and once to jam. Both times were a ton of fun and spirits definitely seem high.
Too soon to say.
In one sentence, can you try and explain what kind of legacy Thrice will inevitably leave (or what you hope it will be) on the history of music?
A band that was always learning, and challenged themselves, that cared for each, their crew, and their fans.
Any advice for musicians that are trying to get recognition in the endless ‘digital sea’ of Soundcloud bands and internet hopefuls.
Be a great live band. Live music isn’t going anywhere. Make use of all the great tools at your disposal, but make it a priority to slay live.
Sounds like you are asking what the record means to me, not the term? If so, the record is something I worked really hard at and am very proud of. I hope that it’s a record that pushed people to look at the darkness around them and inside of them, and makes them thirst for the light.